Parking Fine Issued Every 4.8 Seconds In 2011 - Swiftcover.com

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- 6.6 million parking tickets handed out by local councils across the UK in 2011, up on 6.3 million in 2010 - This despite a 14 per cent cut in active local council traffic wardens between 2010 and 2011 - One in eight parking tickets disputed, with a 28 per cent success rate - Lack of free parking forcing shoppers off local high-streets

Swiftcover Insurance
"Although it might be an easy option to park on a double yellow for a short time, it’s potentially dangerous as well as being illegal, and can result in a fine."

Despite the number of local council Civil Enforcement Officers or CEOs (traffic wardens) falling from 4,190 in 2010 to 3,599 in 2011, the total number of parking fines issued in the UK increased by 244,114 to 6.6 million in 2011 – equivalent to one every 4.8 seconds - according to official Freedom of Information act (FOI) figures obtained by car insurer swiftcover.com.

The 127,583 fines handed out every week in 2011 generated approximately £227 million* for local councils, potentially as much as £19 million** each month.

Outside of London, Liverpool City Council (146,503) saw the largest amount of parking fines handed out in 2011***, ahead of Manchester City Council (138,558) and Birmingham City Council (132,684). On average, 51,695 fines were handed out by each local council last year, compared to 50,220 in 2010. The busiest – or most efficient – CEOs were found in Liverpool, handing out an average of 2,616 parking fines each in 2011, followed by those in Coventry (2,220) and Worcester (2,125), which compared to just 296 fines per CEO in 2011 in Sunderland.

As a result of the higher numbers of fines, there was also an increase in disputes by motorists. In 2010, 845,701 parking ticket disputes were lodged with local councils while in 2011, the figure rose to 875,769 – or 72,980 each month. However, the success rate of these challenges has fallen from 31 per cent (261,311 tickets overturned) in 2010 to 28 per cent (246,589 tickets overturned) in 2011.

Success rates in disputed cases vary dramatically by local council, from as little as 11 per cent in the City of Bradford, to 72 per cent in Chichester. A third (36 per cent) of Manchester motorists who had disputed a ticket were successful, while 41 per cent of appeals were upheld in Birmingham.

Further research by swiftcover.com revealed that for 66 per cent of motorists parking in their nearest town or city centre has become more difficult in the past few years. Because of this, local councils and paid for car parks are forcing half (51 per cent) of shoppers to turn their backs on their local high-street. Furthermore, a staggering 61 per cent of 17 to 24 year olds do not now shop in their local town, potentially opting for alternative shopping centres catering for the motorist.

Robin Reames, Chief Claims Officer at insurer swiftcover.com, said: “Shortage of parking has become a huge issue in towns and cities across the UK in the past five to ten years, however, this doesn’t excuse illegal parking. Although it might be an easy option to park on a double yellow for a short time, it’s potentially dangerous as well as being illegal, and can result in a fine. Furthermore, if your illegally parked car is a hazard and a moving vehicle crashed in to it, an insurer could in theory request up to a third of the bill from the at fault motorist.”

Although it is extremely rare, an insurer is entitled to request for up to a third of the cost of an accident if the policyholder is proven to have parked illegally and in a hazardous way.

Further data from individual Freedom of Information act requests is available on request.

  •     All Freedom of Information act (FOI) data was obtained in March 2011 on asking 95 city and town councils across England, Wales and Scotland for information. 24 did not provide information therefore averages were used from the figures generated by the 71 that did.
  •     2012 figures for numbers of CEOs employed in London unavailable at time of writing
  •     *Assumption made that each fine was for the minimum amount (£25 outside of London and £40 in London) which requires that it was paid within 14 days or receipt and therefore eligible for discount. Not taking disputes or court hearings in to account.
  •     ** Assumption made that each fine issued was NOT paid within 14 days and therefore ineligible for any discount, but not taking further disputes or court hearings in to account. Fine costing £50 outside of London, £80 in.
  •     *** Please note, Liverpool City Council includes Bus Lane PCNs in its figures for parking offences – although thought to make up a small portion of the figures.

About Swiftcover:
Based in Cobham, Surrey and employing more than 1,000 people, swiftcover.com started trading in June 2005 and was born out of a desire to revolutionise the general insurance market by making insurance quick and easy to use.

swiftcover.com offers car, home, travel and pet insurance online, and is the only insurance provider in Britain not to use call centre’s, which provides cost savings that can be passed directly onto the customer, keeping premiums low. swiftcover.com was named Best Value for Money Car Insurer in the UK in the 2010 Lovemoney.com awards.

This powerful operating model combined with successful marketing and competitive pricing has proven to be a tremendous success. In 2008 swiftcover.com achieved over half a million live policies and in May 2009 sold its millionth policy. swiftcover.com is considered to be one of the fastest-growing online insurance providers in the UK and, as of February 2011, has more than 800,000 policy holders.

In 2007, AXA UK acquired swiftcover.com. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of AXA Insurance UK PLC which forms part of AXA Group.

About AXA:

AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management serving 101 million clients. It is ranked the largest insurer in the world by net written premium and the top insurance brand globally.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 13,000 staff in the UK.

For full year 2011, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 86.1 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 3.9 billion. AXA had Euro 1,079 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

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Luke O’Mahony or Sean Williams

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